Water Use Reporting for Oil and Gas Production

On September 25, 2014, Governor Brown signed into law Oil and Gas Production: Water Use Reporting, Senate Bill 1281 (2014) which added Section 3226.3 to the Public Resources Code (PRC), and amended Section 3227. The amendment to PRC Section 3227 further defined how water produced and used in oil field operations is reported.

As part of the amendment to PRC Section 3227, SB 1281 established the requirement for a quarterly water report which must be filed online by all oil and gas well owners. To meet this requirement, the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has implemented an interim electronic reporting process for oil and gas operators, while it seeks a permanent solution for online reporting.

Under existing law, DOGGR in the Department of Conservation regulates the drilling, operation, maintenance, stimulation, and abandonment of oil and gas wells in the state. The law requires the owner of any well to file with the State Oil and Gas Supervisor a monthly statement that provides certain information relating to the well, including what disposition was made of the water produced from each well. The law provides that a person who fails to comply with specific laws relating to the regulation of oil or gas operations, including failing to furnish a report or record, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

The amendment to PRC Section 3227 requires the statement to the supervisor to include the source and volume of any water reported, along with water used to generate or make up the composition of any injected fluid or gas. It also requires the statement to include additional information, including the treatment of water, and the use of treated or recycled water in oil and gas field activities. This information is to be reported on a quarterly basis.

SB 1281 also requires DOGGR to use a standardized form or format to facilitate reporting, and to use non-custom software, as feasible, to implement online reporting. As such, the Division has developed for oil and gas operator use, a quarterly water report form in Microsoft Excel.

Update and Reports

Water summary reports and data tables

State Water Board Defines Water Quality

On August 19, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) defined in a letter to DOGGR what constitutes “water suitable for domestic or irrigation purposes.” For the purposes of reporting water per PRC Section 3227, SWRCB has defined “water suitable for domestic or irrigation purposes” as water containing 10,000 milligrams per liter (mg/l), or less, total dissolved solids (TDS).
SWRCB's letter